Any list created for the top 10 players of all time is bound to be scrutinized by experts and fans. The top 10 player peaks made by Ben Taylor of Thinking Basketball are not an exception. While some of the names mentioned in the list are somewhat expected, one name was glaringly absent.
Top 10 player peaks of all time
A series of Youtube videos published on the Thinking Basketball page featured players who dominated in different eras. Below is the top 10 list according to Ben Taylor.
- Michael Jordan: 1989-1991
- LeBron: 2012-2013
- Shaq: 2000-2001
- Hakeem: 1993-1995
- Bird: 1985-1986
- Kareem: 1977-1979
- Curry: 2016-2017
- KG: 2003-2004
- Duncan: 2002-2003
- Magic: 1987-1989
The criteria used are limited to contributions on the court, helping the team win, impact relative to year, and at least two seasons to separate the one-hit wonders. The stats gathered were from 1977 until 2020. That means Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, and Wilt Chamberlain are excluded, not because they don’t deserve to be on this list, but because of the lack of necessary videos and data from the 60s to 70s.
The current stars, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, are also not included. As mentioned in the video, these stars still have the upside to “peak” in the following seasons. Given their age and potential, they can still damage the league and enter more record books.
Magic made the list because of his playmaking skills and scoring ability. Duncan was ranked 9th because he’s instrumental in making the San Antonio Spurs legitimate title contenders during his time. The stats of KG and TD were almost identical, but the former Boston Celtics champ was given the slight advantage due to him being a better passer than Duncan.
Everybody knew how Curry impacted and changed how the game is played. His peak years in the 2016-17 season, but he ranked relatively lower due to his defense and how opposing teams started to exploit this aspect to somehow limit his offensive output by wearing him down defending other stars. Kareem made the list because of his scoring abilities in the era where 3-points shots were rare. This fact magnifies his offensive arsenal since it meant he had to work twice as hard, and he had no teammates to pass the ball to the space on the floor so he could operate more freely in the shaded lane. The rest of the top five were closely ranked, that their names could be interchanged. However, there’s one missing name that was too hard to miss.
Kobe’s legendary season dismissed
Kobe Bryant’s name was nowhere to be found on this list, and it’s hard to think of the reason behind it.
There are many stretches in Kobe’s career that could be considered his peak years. There’s the 2005-06 season where he entered the history books because of his scoring output. During this time, he was an All-Star, recorded the highest points average of his career at 35.4 points per game, and willed the Lakers to the playoffs almost single-handedly. Of course, who could forget the 81 points he tallied against the Toronto Raptors or the 62 points output in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks? Bryant was unplayable in the 2005-06 season, and based on numbers alone, he should have made the top 10 list of player peaks.
This list shows how Kobe still gets disrespected despite the Hall of Fame career he had.